Former Marion County athlete still setting records

Addie Berens was a student at Hillsboro and now attends Fort Hays State University. She has set school records for javelin at both schools.

Addie Berens started throwing javelin at Hillsboro High School and she hasn’t stopped since.

“During my junior year, I broke the school record with a throw of 125′ 0” and finished 4th at the 2A state track meet. I was disappointed that I had to miss my senior year because of COVID-19,” said Berens. “I love throwing javelin, so I was fortunate to continue competing in college at Fort Hays State University.”

Berens went into her freshman year of college in the fall of 2020 not knowing what to expect or how she would compare to other collegiate athletes.

She said, “I was pleasantly surprised when I threw a PR of 143′ 2” at my very first meet. This gave me confidence, and I felt more comfortable competing.”

Berens placed first in three meets, third place in two meets and then a fifth and sixth place. She got a new PR later in the season of 151′ 10”. She received All-MIAA honors after a third place finish at the MIAA Championships (conference meet), and she qualified for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships which were held in Allendale, MI.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t perform my best and was disappointed in my distances. I finished eleventh place and was recognized as a Second Team All-American,” she said.

Berens felt good about her previous season going into her sophomore year which gave her more confidence. Her coach gave her workouts and lifting routines that she did at home during summers and lifting weights has been a key to her success. During her freshman year she focused mostly on fundamentals and technique while during her sophomore year, she worked form.

“Once again, I started my season with a PR of 153′ 6″ and a first place finish. As my season progressed, I felt more and more confident. I had two first place finishes, two second place finishes, and three third place finishes in the regular season, including the conference meet. I was ranked in the top 10 throwers in Division II all season. I achieved another PR of 154′ 4″ in my second place finish at the MIAA Championships,” said Berens.

She qualified again for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

This year Berens said she was more confident since she had been there. Two of her FHSU teammates also competed in the javelin at nationals, one in the men’s division and one in the women’s division, making it even more special. Seven of the 21 women javelin throwers were from the conference, so she had competed against them several times throughout the season.

“My goal is to leave a meet knowing I threw my best, regardless of the placing. Since I was disappointed at my previous year’s performance at nationals, having a good first throw at nationals this year was a great relief and kind of took the pressure off. That throw of 153′ 4″ ended up being my best throw of the day. I placed 4th and earned a trip to the podium to receive my All-American honors. That was definitely the highlight of my career,” said Berens.

For Berens, the biggest challenge is that javelin throwers only compete in the spring but practice and train year-round. During the fall, the cross-country runners are competing, so track athletes that run distances have another season in which to compete. Most track athletes except javelin throwers compete during the indoor track season in addition to the outdoor season.

She said, “It is just a long time to train without the opportunity to compete. We train all summer, fall, and winter without competing. Especially after Christmas, it’s a challenge to keep motivated to keep training and lifting weights.”

Berens said that one of her favorite aspects of it all is that the “throwers” are like a family.

“We have fun lifting together and we push and encourage each other. We like to do things together outside of track, too,” said Berens.

She also appreciates her coach and the way he is very knowledgeable.

“He tailors practice to what I need to work on,” she said.

This fall, Berens will be a junior at Fort Hays State University where she is majoring in Elementary Education. After graduating, she wants to be an elementary school teacher. Her mom is a teacher at Hillsboro Elementary School.

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